1985 Oliver Ridler
Platform: Commodore VIC-20
If you consider that the Commodore 64 essentially put an end to the VIC-20’s commercial life perhaps a bit prematurely, there are likely many titles out there which never saw the light of day as a result. Our next entry certainly came a bit late in the day, and was also the first work by a young 12 year old Oliver Ridler in the form of a Moon Patrol clone.
“Back in 1984, my father gave me a VIC-20 computer at the age of 11.” began Oliver. “It was a portal to the digital universe, and I soon discovered the Moon Patrol game. Determined to recreate it, I had a go at coding it in BASIC but found it too sluggish for a decent frame rate.”
“Undeterred, I taught myself assembly language, and breathed life into my version of the game. The background music was inspired by the piano music my sister was learning at the time. The game was embraced by the students at my school in Sydney Australia, which allowed only student-created games on their VIC-20s”.
Enjoyed a lot by the kids at Oliver’s school, the game was sent off to Ozisoft in the hope of publication, though sadly it wasn’t quite good enough to be sold by the company.
“Within a few years my trusty Vic20 gave way to modern technology, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw out the old tape bearing my childhood creation.” explained Oliver. “Finally, 40 years later, I reached out to the Sydney Amiga Users Group (SAUG), where Ross, a friendly and passionate enthusiast, went the extra mile to extract it carefully from the old tape and revive my game. Watching it come back to life on the Vice emulator after 4 decades was a nostalgic thrill.”
Oliver very kindly got in touch with GTW in October 2023 with the offer of hosting his unreleased work on the site, and we were happy to oblige and share his story too. So, here it is, where you can check out the game for yourself and have a quick play.
The game is quite simple as Oliver suggests, but is a great first attempt at coding on the platform. The fire button doesn’t seem to work at present, even though I tried on a few emulators, so there might be some fixing needed (or I need to try a different emulator!)
I noticed that there was also a “Ghostbuster” file which had a load error, and I’ve managed to extract this off into a separate disk image. This was a logo graphic which Oliver had produced, and saved onto the same tape – a nice little bonus.
It makes me wonder just how many other titles could be out there, created in similar circumstances – and just waiting to be saved before they disappear for good?
With thanks to Oliver Ridler for sharing his unreleased work and to Sydney Amiga Users Group (SAUG) and specifically Ross for preserving the tape.